written by A.K.S.

Final Fantasy 13-2 is a direct sequel to 2010’s Final Fantasy 13. It picks up where 13 left off and follows the trail of Serah Farron and Noel Kreiss as they try to track down Serah’s sister, Lightning. This is the second time that SquareEnix has made a direct sequel to one their Final Fantasy games, and this iteration of the FF13 universe tries to tackle the problems and disappointments that fans had with the original game. Square succeeds in most areas and I think this is the next gen Final Fantasy game that people wanted and expected when 13 was released.

I have to say that I enjoyed Final Fantasy 13; I didn’t mind that the game was very linear because I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the battle system. It wasn’t my favorite game in the franchise, FF7 still tops my list, but it had enough moments that kept me entertained. One of the largest complaints about the game was its point A to point B progression. FF13-2 eliminates this by introducing a time travel element and it works very well. It’s fun to travel to areas at different timelines and see the changes to not only the environments, but also to characters that you met earlier. Quests can be taken on at any point in your adventure and you can re-visit areas whenever you please. The game does point you in a general direction, but you really are free to do as you like once you unlock a number of different destinations throughout time. As you progress Serah and Noel obtain the ability to “unlock” timegates, which is basically a big reset button. This allows you to try different things or obtain something you might have missed previously; it’s a very helpful feature, especially if you have that face palm moment when you realized you missed a good weapon or item.  The areas of each time period are also no longer the straight hallways that they were in FF13, there is much more to do and to explore.

 

FF13-2 has the same battle mechanic as its predecessor; however it does introduce a nice twist by having your 3rd party member a creature that you can capture in the game. Whenever you battle and defeat a creature in a random encounter, you have a chance to obtain its monster crystal. Once you have this you can use it in battle as your 3rd party member. Each creature has its own unique skills and attributes and I have spent an unhealthy amount of time trying to obtain the best creatures and max out their stats. It is a very addicting aspect to the game and has a very Pokemon-like feel to it.

The ATB system used in combat is identical to FF13; you have up to 3 creatures to select from in battle, with each one fulfilling a different role. While you can switch between 3 monsters in battle, but only one is on the screen at anytime, so in essence only 3 party members are fighting. I think the ATB system is one of the better battle systems created by SquareEnix. From the menu you can customize roles for your characters into paradigms. While you only control one character, the paradigms you create dictate the actions that your allies will perform in battle. This system makes for a very fast paced battle and for the tougher bosses a strategy is definitely needed when you construct and implement your paradigms. It’s a good way of mixing fast paced action and role playing depth.

 

While SquareEnix did fix the issue of linearity, it did so at the expense of the overall story. The story in Final Fantasy 13-2 is not as strong as the one presented in FF13 and the main story can be completed in about 25 to 30 hours. Fortunately there are plenty of side quests that have you hopping from one time period to the next that extend the game quite a bit.  The graphics are about the same as FF13 which is not a bad thing at all. The environments and characters all look great, but there a few frame rate issues when things get hectic onscreen. The voice acting is pretty good and up to par with previous Final Fantasy games, but I thought some of the lines were pretty cheesy. Overall Final Fantasy 13-2 is a good RPG, it definitely fixed the linear progression that plagued its predecessor and adds a nice level of depth with the creature capturing mechanic. If you enjoy Final Fantasy games this one won’t disappoint.